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Celebrating Our Moms

By Nathan Coker
In Featured Slider
May 1st, 2024
0 Comments
1148 Views

article by Meredith McKinnie
photography by Kelly Moore Clark

This Mother’s Day, we’d like to highlight mothers across our region. These women shared their thoughts on motherhood – who influenced their mothering, how those values have changed, and how society’s ideas of mothering have evolved. At the essence of each spotlight is love and commitment to understanding, to doing the best they know how with the information available to them at the time. We see motherhood personified across generations, as children are forever imprinted by the women in their lives.

Douglissa Harris and Cayson

Douglissa Harris calls Cayson “My Guy,” as he is smart, helpful, and a full-on boy. He grabs life by the horns and is always up for a challenge. For Douglissa and husband Jakari, Cayson is their rainbow baby, and they couldn’t be more grateful and honored to be his parents. They strive to teach Cayson independence and bravery. Douglissa also leans into emotions with her son, acknowledging his feelings and walking through those episodes with him. 

When it comes to mothering her son Cayson, Douglissa Harris extends a lot of grace, as she knows her 3-year-old is still learning and growing. Douglissa’s own mother Barbara Brown showcased resilience, always quickly bouncing back from whatever life threw at the family. Douglissa understands that motherhood is a tightrope of sorts, that we can’t get everything right all the time, even though society expects us to. 

The last few years, Douglissa has learned to appreciate every moment. She already can’t remember the last time washed Cayson’s bottle or pushed him in a stroller. The time goes so fast; people tell us that, and it’s true. Douglissa also leans into her village, as raising a child requires a community of people to love a child. Though Douglissa is fiercely independent, she knows when to ask and depend on others. And finally, Douglissa makes a concerted effort to apologize to her son, acknowledging her mistakes as they occur. They hug it out, respecting both of their timelines and emotions. She believes modeling this behavior will help Cayson understand personal responsibility and owning up to his mistakes. Raising a son that is emotionally mature is paramount, and Douglissa knows that begins at home. 

Nicole, Ava, Evie and Estelle West

For Nicole West and husband Brian, family and athletics are cornerstones of their relationship and uniquely entwined. Brian and Nicole were both athletes in their glory days. Nicole was a collegiate basketball player under Kim Mulkey and Leon 

Barmore at Louisiana Tech, and she competed in the Final Four. Brian was a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox and played defensive end for LSU when the team won a national championship under Nick Saban. Now the parents of three daughters (Ava Violet, Evelynn Elise, and Estelle Margaret), Nicole and Brian love sharing their love of athletics, team sports, and competition with their girls. They are able to teach the young ladies what commitment looks like and how to accept responsibility and failure. 

Nicole describes motherhood as “pure joy.” She is so grateful that God chose her to be the mother of Ava, Evelynn, and Estelle. Nicole’s mothering influences come from her maternal grandmother Violet Sherer, her mother Donna Burn, and her mother-in-law Gail West. Nicole learned the importance of continuing family traditions and highlighting her children’s strengths. Ava (15) is a freshman at Sterlington High School, focusing on securing her learner’s permit, and playing softball and basketball. Evelynn (13) is an 8th grader at Sterlington Middle, playing basketball and softball, and is really into robotics. Estelle (9) is adored by the entire family and spends her days playing basketball, softball, and tennis, along with running track. 

The West family motto is “Grit & Gratitude,” as nothing worth having comes easily. The girls’ talents extend to academics, as all three are straight A students. Most importantly though, Nicole and Brian are proud that their children are foremost great humans, friends, and teammates. The bond among the girls is proof that a family that plays together thrives together. 

Janice Butler, Kandice Guice, and Kyrie

For local attorney Kandice Guice, loving on her only son Kyrie is the highlight of her day. Kandice admits that motherhood provided a new lens through which to view herself, insisting we can heal ourselves through our children. Kandice knows that Kyrie comes with his own spirit- he is not hers to keep. 4-year-old Kyrie is fun-loving, vivacious, and into dinosaurs, traveling, and anything STEM-related. He is on a local swim team and plays competitive soccer. His active lifestyle keeps Kandice busy, alongside her professional and personal commitments. 

Luckily, Kandice has a “SuperMom” as a role model with her own mother Janice Butler. After Kyrie was born, Janice, whom Kyrie calls Mimi, stayed with him every day. Janice counts Kandice as a “blessing from God,” after struggling to conceive, and Kyrie is her “blessing from a blessing.” Janice is impressed by Kandice’s strength as a mother and commitment to educating her son through direct conversations. Janice insists Kandice talks to him like a person with agency, always giving him choices and explaining issues thoroughly. As a result, Kyrie has developed a strong sense of self and his standing in the world around him. 

Parenting Kyrie has broadened Kandice’s perspective on how she was parented, as she now gives her parents more grace. Kandice appreciates seeing her mother’s love for her doubled in her love for Kyrie. Together, caring for Kyrie, Janice and Kandice get to love their own inner children, showing their generational legacy in Kyrie’s future. 

Yvette Jeter, Molly Jeter McCullar, and Ruby

Though Yvette Jeter has held many titles, MaMère might be her favorite. As the mother of Molly Jeter McCullar and grandmother of Ruby, Yvette knows that as mothers evolve, so does society’s definition of motherhood, and for Yvette, it’s the fun of being Mamère, as her job now is only to love and spoil her grandchildren. 

Yvette describes daughter Molly as foremost a “nurturing soul,” always loving on her little brother John as if he was her own. Molly’s maternal instinct sharpened when she welcomed son Charlie in her late 20s, followed 12 years later by daughter Ruby. Molly credits Yvette with showcasing both a loving and firm nature, something Molly emulates with her children. Though seemingly easygoing and patient, Molly can be tough when she needs to be. And while Molly may now be the adult in the room, she still seeks out Mom’s advice daily. Yvette knows best. 

Molly describes Ruby as being like Molly when she was her age – smart and witty with a good sense of humor. While leadership-driven, Ruby is sensitive to others, always looking out for the little ones. Ruby is a dedicated tumbler and a proud member of Chickadees, a group that prioritizes community service. Molly sees a lot of Yvette in Ruby, and as her mother’s biggest fan, she knows her daughter will be just fine in the world with such spirit.  Yvette’s family also includes son John Jeter, wife Jennifer Jeter, and grandchildren John Calvin, Lara Jayne, and Grayson.